Resources for resolving conflict in corporations and faith communities

Conflict is a natural and normal aspect of any relationship, especially significant relationships. While our most significant relationships are usually our most intimate ones, we can care very deeply about what happens at work and in community organizations. Indeed, we often spend more time at work than at home.

The perspectives and tools of Creative Conflict ResolutionSM (which are elucidated in the portion of this site dedicated to the book Just Conflict) are just as applicable to corporations and faith communities as they are to small groups like families. While the resources the Center has available for organizations are tailor made for the situation in question, they tend to fall into two types:

  • training in conflict resolution, and
  • facilitation of efforts to address a specific conflict.

In many interventions a combination of these two roles may be necessary.

Training in Conflict Resolution

In the long run it is more effective to teach someone to fish than it is to give them a fish. Conflicts are arising all of the time in all of our relationships and the better a community is at naming, addressing, and resolving whatever conflicts may arise, the more creative will be the collective action of the community. We all resolve conflict on a daily basis, but when a particularly big conflict arises we find ourselves feeling uncertain about our ability to resolve it. Indeed, we may decide that this is a conflict which cannot be resolved.

It is the fundamental premise of Creative Conflict Resolution that all conflicts can be resolved. It is true that we cannot change others. When we cannot see a way to transform ourselves such that we are generating what we need, we see the situation as hopeless. Consultation with communities in crisis over conflict is about helping the parties discover what they each need and fashioning strategies which will move them toward what they need without depending on others changing. More...

Facilitation in addressing conflict

Sometimes a crisis has risen to such a level that the parties cannot afford the luxury of a protracted course in conflict resolution skills. Something must be resolved now. In these circumstances Dr. Robinson is available to work with the polarized parties to help them each see how they can shift their perspective on the problem such that they can again work together to create the best interests of the whole organization.

This is not mediation in the usual sense of the word. This is not dispute arbitration wherein a legally binding formal agreement is hammered out. This is a process of all the parties coming to see what their common interests are and voluntarily coming to an agreement which meets everyone's needs.

What Dr. Robinson brings to the table is a neutral stance toward the conflict itself and a deep understanding of how conflicts can be resolved along with a personal ability to provide a "non-anxious presence" to support all positions being heard respectfully.  More..

When the organization is a bystander

There is a third circumstance which we are asked to address from time to time.  Sometimes the conflict is not one which is intrinsic to the organization itself.  An example of this is when a couple of members or employees have such a high level of conflict between them that their stress affects their participation in the community or the corporation and thus the wellbeing of all is negatively impacted. 

In these circumstances the intervention is one in which some person or persons must be empowered to confront the parties with information about how their behavior is affecting others.  The responsibility for the impact of the conflict on others must be brought to those who are the primary parties to the conflict.  More...

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